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English Literature

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About Literature

Literature (from Latin litterae (plural) letter) is the art of written work. The word literature literally means "things made from letters". Literature is commonly classified as having two major forms—fiction & non-fiction—and two major techniques—poetry and prose.

Literature may consist of texts based on factual information (journalistic or non-fiction), a category that may also include polemical works, biography, and reflective essays, or it may consist of texts based on imagination (such as fiction, poetry, or drama). Literature written in poetry emphasizes the aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as sound, symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, ordinary meanings, while literature written in prose applies ordinary grammatical structure and the natural flow of speech. Literature can also be classified according to historical periods, genres, and political influences. While the concept of genre has broadened over the centuries, in general, a genre consists of artistic works that fall within a certain central theme; examples of genre include romance, mystery, crime, fantasy, erotica, and adventure, among others.

Important historical periods in English literature include Old English, Middle English, the Renaissance, the Elizabethan era of the 16th century (which includes the Shakespearean era), the 17th Century Restoration period, the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, the Romanticism of the early 19th century, the later 19th Century Victorian, and 20th Century Modernism and Post-modernism. Important intellectual movements that have influenced the study of literature include feminism, post-colonialism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, post-modernism, romanticism, and Marxism.

English literature is the literature which is distinctly written in the English language, as opposed to differing languages. English literature includes literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England nor primarily English-speaking nations; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Thomas Pynchon is American, V.S. Naipaul was born in Trinidad, and Vladimir Nabokov was Russian, but all are considered important writers in the history of English literature. In other words, English literature is as diverse as the varieties and dialects of English spoken around the world in countries originally colonized by the British.

Until the early 19th century, this article deals with literature from Britain written in English; then America starts to produce major writers and works in literature. In the 20th century America and Ireland produced many of the most significant works of literature in English, and after World War II writers from the former British Empire also began to challenge writers from Britain. Additional information on literature in English from countries other than the UK and Ireland can be found in see also below. (Source: Adpated from Wikipedia under the under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License )

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